Brit backpacker Peter Falconio murder mystery continues as police deny human remains found

17 February 2023, 10:31 | Updated: 17 February 2023, 13:31

Peter Falconio and killer Bradley Murdoch
Peter Falconio was murdered in 2001, aged 28. Picture: Alamy

By James Hockaday

Police have denied any human remains have been found despite reports linking an alleged discovery to missing British backpacker Peter Falconio.

On Friday, media reports surfaced of bone fragments being discovered in the Australian Outback near Alice Springs, close to where the Brighton University graduate was shot dead in 2001.

The Sydney Morning Herald saying they would be "cross-checked against the Falconio case because of their age and location".

But in a short statement, Northern Territory Police said this is "factually incorrect" and that no remains had been recovered at all.

The force said: "No human remains have been located by Northern Territory Police, and a search is not currently being conducted. Current media reports are factually incorrect."

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Drug-runner Bradley Murdoch shot dead Mr Falconio, and tried to abduct his girlfriend Joanne Lees - but she escaped and raised the alarm.
Drug-runner Bradley Murdoch was jailed in 2005 for Mr Falconio's murder. Picture: Getty

Mr Falconio, 28, was shot dead by drug runner and truck driver Bradley Murdoch, although his body was never found.

He was driving with his girlfriend Joanne Lees on a remote road between Alice Springs and Darwin when the killer drove up behind them and signalled for them to pull over.

Murdoch suggested there may have been a mechanical problem with their van, but Ms Lees told police this was an ambush.

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Peter Falconio
Mr Falconio was travelling with his girlfriend Joanne Lees when they were ambushed. Picture: Alamy

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When the two men went to check the van, she says she heard a gunshot before Murdoch approached her and tied her up.

Ms Lees managed to escape and spent five hours hiding while her attacker hunted her, before eventually flagging down a passing truck and fleeing.

Murdoch was convicted of Mr Falconio’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison in 2005, but he never revealed where he hid the body.